Prepare to deploy software updates (SharePoint Server 2010)


Applies to: SharePoint Server 2010

This article describes the required and recommended tasks that have to be completed before you install software updates on servers in a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 farm.

In this article:

  • Verify account permissions and security settings

  • Determine the update approach

  • Back up the environment

  • Document the environment

  • Determine whether related items need to be updated

  • Obtain the software update and prepare the installation source (optional)

Verify account permissions and security settings

Verify that you have the required account permissions and know which security settings are in place on the farm. For more information, see Account permissions and security settings (SharePoint Server 2010).

Determine the update approach

There are two basic options for deploying a software update on a farm: in-place and database attach. Additionally, these options can be combined to use one of the hybrid approaches that are described in Determine upgrade approach (SharePoint Server 2010).


Because installing a software update is a subset of a software upgrade, documentation about software upgrades applies to deploying software updates.

The differences between the two update approaches are as follows:

  • In-place update: This approach is the easiest to do. With this method, the amount of downtime required is directly related to the size and complexity of the farm. You have two choices for an in-place update:

    • In-place without backward compatibility – The update is installed on all the farm servers at the same time and the content is upgraded without using backward compatibility. No downtime reduction is available for this method.

    • In-place with backward compatibility to reduce downtime – The update is installed in stages and uses postponed upgrade with backward compatibility to reduce downtime.

  • Database attach: This approach is more complex than an in-place update, and it costs more in person time and hardware resources. This update method uses two farms to provide high availability for existing content.

When you use either the in-place with backward compatibility method or the database attach method, you can use a postponed upgrade so that you can choose to upgrade the content first and then the farm and servers afterward.

We recommend that you use the following flowchart, which presents the key decision points and subsequent actions, for determining which update approach to use.

Decision flow chart to determine update strategy

Whichever method you choose to use for updating your servers, you can use either the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard or Windows PowerShell cmdlets to upgrade your content.

Back up the environment

To ensure that you can recover the existing environment in case something goes wrong during the update deployment process, we recommend that you back up the SharePoint Server 2010 environment before you start to install the update. A failed software update can be caused by factors other than the update process, such as the following:

  • Media failure

  • User errors (such as deleting a file by mistake)

  • Hardware failures (such as a damaged hard disk or permanent loss of a server)

  • Power failures

  • Natural disaster

You can back up all or part of a farm. The following list summarizes the farm components that can be backed up individually:

  • Configuration settings

  • Web applications

  • Service applications

  • Search

  • Secure store service

  • Site collections

  • Logs

For more information about how to determine what you need to back up and which method to use to do so, see Plan for backup and recovery in SharePoint Server 2010. After you determine which farm elements you will back up, refer to the articles listed in Backup SharePoint Server 2010. These articles provide detailed instructions and guidance for backing up all or part of a farm.


Test the farm backups before you start to deploy the software update. You have to be sure that these backups are valid so that you can recover if there is a hardware failure or data corruption during the update process.

Document the environment

Be sure to document the farm, including any custom components in the farm, in case you need to rebuild. For more information about creating an inventory of customizations, see Identify and install customizations in the Upgrade guide. In addition, document unique things about your farm, such as the following:

  • Any large lists

  • Any sites with large access control lists (ACLs)

  • Any sites that are critical to your organization

Having a list of these items will help you more quickly validate your environment after you apply an update.

Consider whether the following related items need to be updated when you update your farm:

  • Filter packs

  • Office Web applications

  • Language packs

All these items are updated separately from SharePoint Server 2010. Check to see if any updates to these items are available, and evaluate whether you want to apply the updates to your farm when you apply the updates for SharePoint Server 2010. Language packs are usually only updated when service packs (SP1, SP2, and so on) are released.

Obtain the software update and prepare the installation source (optional)

If the servers on which you want to install SharePoint Server 2010 are isolated from the Internet, it is usually necessary to install software updates from an offline location. Even if the servers are not isolated, if you install software updates from an offline central location, you can ensure farm server consistency by installing a well-known and controlled set of images. Use the following procedure to prepare a software update for installation on a farm server.

You do not need to perform this procedure if you are downloading and installing the update directly to your servers.

To prepare an installation source

  1. Download the software update that you want to install.

  2. Extract the software update to a shared location by using the following command:

    <package> **/extract:<**path>

    The /extract switch prompts you to provide a folder name for the files. An example of a folder name for x64 systems is as follows:

    sps-kb999999-x64-fullfile-en-us.exe /extract:<\\computername\updateshare\Updates>

  3. Copy the extracted files from the shared location to an Updates folder that you create on the computer where you want to start to install the update.


    You must use the name Updates for this updates folder. If you use the SupdateLocation="path-list" property to specify a different location, Setup stops responding.

You can now use this location as an installation point, or you can create an image of this source that you can burn to physical media or save as an ISO file.

Slipstream package

In server farm deployments, all the Web servers must have the same software update version applied. This means that, before you add a new Web server to an existing server farm, the new Web server must have the same software updates as the rest of the Web servers in your server farm. Likewise, when you create a farm, all servers in the farm must have the same software updates. To make sure that all new servers have the same software updates applied, we recommend that you create an installation source that contains a copy of the release version of the software, together with software updates that match those installed on your server farm (also known as a slipstreamed installation source). When you run Setup from this updated installation source, the new Web server will have the same software update version as the rest of the Web servers in your server farm. For more information, see Create an installation source that includes software updates (Office SharePoint Server 2007) [].

See Also

Other Resources

Resource Center: Updates for SharePoint 2010 Products